By Christopher Cudworth
Doing core work is one of the world’s most humbling chores. Working out the muscles in your lower stomach, upper hips and all the way up to the chest is neither fun or easy. But wait…
…there seems to be a relationship between doing core work and great sex. And if you click on the video link above you’ll get an ad for 50 Sex Tips from Men’s Health. Enjoy, that’s another kind of Core Work, you might say.
Most of us probably avoid boring old regular core work if we can help it. But in doing so we lose out in so many ways. Our core helps us with everything from posture to generating speed in running and riding. And having better sex? Side benefit.
With those challenges in mind I signed on with a trainer at the gym to learn a few better exercises to improve core strength. So I could run and ride faster. Yeah, that’s it.
I tried the whole Core Strength thing once before actually. A year ago I did a similar trip to the gym and it wound up hurting so bad the next few days that my mind simply buried the whole experience as if it never happened.
Seriously, I pretty much forgot everything I did that day, because for days afterward my gut was so sore I could not sit or even eat without cringing.
But you can’t avoid the ugly truth forever. Even that Bad Dream of a training session started to come back to me after I signed up for this new core instruction.
I’d seen the trainer working with a guy a bit older than me. When I saw how the trainer was focused on the small aspects of how to do things right, it popped into my head: “He’s the right guy for me.”
Later in the locker room I asked the gentleman who’d been working with the trainer how he liked the guy. “He’s the best,” was the response. “He knows his stuff. He’s patient. Really good.”
So it was that I signed up and worked out with the shaved head trainer with the superb arms and Total Fitness look that tells you life is about to change in your little world.
It started simply enough. A 25 lb. weight in my hands, I did crunches lifting my knees and then straight leg lifts. Then came some planks on an exercise ball.
It takes balls to do core work
The next set involved similar exercises using an exercise ball to lift with the legs and hand the ball up to my hands, tap the ball on the ground above my head and hand it back to my legs. This was done both bent-legged and straight-legged. It got hard.
Then we also broke out one of those wobbly blue wiggly balls with a hard plastic shell on one side and did some more planks. I got in pushup position with hands on both sides of the hard plastic shell and did sideways dips to touch each fist to the ground while planking above the half-ball. It was hard. But it felt good. In all it constituted nine easily-remembered exercises.
And then we did the routine all over again. And once again.
Except parts of my body refused to participate at certain points in the routine. Specifically, the muscles in my legs that run along the inside of the quads actually quit during the leg lift phases. Quit. Nada. Nothing. No response.
I was a frog in a science experiment at that point. All you can do is chuckle and smile at the trainer standing above you. They’ve seen it all before. But perhaps not this strange failure of physical constitution. When those muscles don’t fire, I learned, you can’t lift your legs. They will not go.
I was a like a grasshopper pinned to road tar after a tractor runs over its hind legs.
I was like a mermaid with its tail held behind by a moray eel hidden in a cave.
I was like a garbage sticker that blew off the handle and got run over by a car.
Reduced to grunting and pretending that exercise was still taking place, I counted off the remaining 3 or 4 reps and let my legs fall to the ground. If this is Core Work, I told myself, the Core is much bigger than I thought.
Hanging in there
Well, I found out quickly how big and soft my core actually was. All this week there has been a progressively tight feeling from my chest down to the hip flexors.
So I got what I wanted. A Core Workout that is a killer. And this was only the basics.
But I’m feeling it to the Core now, and liking it. As soon as I can lift my legs again I’ll do more. My 4-miler last night did not go so badly. Of course I did feel like I was carrying a child behind my soft little six-pack. It was that heavy and sore.
But this is the price of improvement. It was time to stop joking around about wanting to be stronger in the core. I question sometimes whether its best to go about it this way, destroying yourself to invent a new you. Would half the amount have worked just as well the first time?
Too late for those questions. Immersion is the matter of the day. I am now officially a Core Warrior, destined for Super Hero status on the bike and on the run. It might even help my swimming. But that’s a topic for another day.
Happy Friday. We made it through another week together. Now go have adventurous sex.